Theses Master's

Riding to the MARTA Market: Examining a Food Insecurity Solution at the Intersection of Public Transit and Food Access

Abedin, Tamim

Food insecurity is a pervasive issue in Atlanta, especially in low-income and minority neighborhoods. People with low-incomes who are reliant on public transit are especially vulnerable to food insecurity and spatial lack of food access The low-income and transit reliant residents of Atlanta face many challenges as the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has consistently faced difficulties in providing robust service and expanding transit systems. Compounded with the sprawling metropolitan area and suburban-centric development, mobility around Atlanta without a car is restricted.

The MARTA Markets are a food access intervention based on bringing food access points to public transit stations to give access to people. This study seeks to investigate the effectiveness of the Markets in improving food access and fruit/vegetable intake among its customers, and it seeks to examine the potential of the markets to serve as part of the larger food system. The study uses a mixed methods approach, utilizing spatial analysis methods and qualitative interviews to look at market service and changes in food procurement habits.

The study results showed that the MARTA Markets were able to serve more residents within a 30-minute travel time by public transit than existing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-accepting grocery stores. Furthermore, the data collected from the interviews showed that participants generally felt positive about the markets. Participants reported that the markets increased their fruit and vegetable intake, and that the markets lowered the financial and travel barrier for healthy food. The results provide evidence that the markets have been effective for healthy food access among its customers, but the impact among all transit riders is small. The MARTA Markets will likely need to increase awareness, engagement, and the types of services offered to reach a wider portion of the transit riders in need of food access.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for AbedinTamim_GSAPPUP_2023_Thesis.pdf AbedinTamim_GSAPPUP_2023_Thesis.pdf application/pdf 2.05 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Slater, Thomas S. J.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
December 14, 2023